Pupil, teacher relationship 'critical'

Pupils who like their teachers are more likely to do well academically, an Education Review Office report shows.

The Evaluation at a Glance: Transitions from Primary School to Secondary School report, released today, looked at pupils moving from primary to secondary schools and moving through schools in their early teens.

It revealed that the relationship between pupils and their secondary school teachers was of ''critical importance''.

The more a pupil liked their teacher, the better they did academically.

Those who struggled with the transition from primary to secondary school were more at risk of leaving school without qualifications.

''Students' views of a subject area, specifically the way this was taught, were strongly linked to their feelings about the teacher,'' the report said.

''Students valued teachers who could connect with their world view. They particularly appreciated it when teachers made learning interesting, understood and enjoyed them as teenagers, and had a sense of humour."

Most year 9 pupils, aged between 13 and 14, said they liked many of their teachers and felt cared for by them.

''This is despite the fact that they often had fewer opportunities to build the kind of close relationships they had with their teachers at primary school due to the compartmentalisation of subject areas and the school timetable,'' the report said.

Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer for the Education Review Office, Dr Graham Stoop, said a good start to secondary school was essential.

''When transitions don't go well, the impact on our most vulnerable students may well be reflected in their future achievement, employment prospects and wellbeing,'' he said.

The report also found pupils were often going over work they had covered in primary school and that information gathered on transition was not generally used well by teachers to identify what students already knew and what they needed to work on next.

"This indicates that some secondary schools could use achievement information better to provide programmes that matched students' learning needs,'' the report said.

The Press